Have you ever worried? Did you know that kids worry?
Children’s Ministry Magazine recently shared a statement from The Washington Post about kids and stress. It said, “Your kids may benefit from a lesson on worry. Stress is the leading reason 10-15 percent of school-aged children now need medical attention for stomach pain,” (March/April 2013). I agree that kids could benefit from a lesson on worry. Many children have told me about things that they are worried about, from rain storms to school fire drills to parents arguing. Children do worry. And so do we. So what do we do when we worry?
Well, anytime we don’t know what to do, we can look to God. And, guess what? God has a lot to say about worry in His Word, the Bible!
When I spoke about worry to a group of children at a Christian school chapel, I brought a special little friend with me. A small Play-Doh person. We decided that our Play-Doh person seemed happy and joyful. But then we imagined that our Play-Doh friend was our age and we shared things that we worry about. As each worry was shared, our Play-Doh friend was pressed down more and more until it was all pressed down flat from worry. Our Play-Doh friend didn’t seem so joyful anymore. When you have things that you are worried about, do you feel pressed down flat like that? That’s not how God wants us to live. He wants us to have joy and know that He cares about us. So what should we do when we worry?
The Bible has a lot to say about worry, but I like the verse in 1 Peter 5:7, “Give all your cares and worries to God because He cares about you,” (NLT). So when we worry, we should give our worries to God because He cares about us. Did you know that God cares about you? He created the whole world just by speaking. He made the planets, the sun, the stars, the flowers, the puppies. And He made you! Since God made you, He cares about you. In fact, God cares about you so much that He even knows how many hairs are on your head! This morning when you combed your hair, did you count the hairs on your head? No? Why not? Okay, I didn’t either. I really don’t care how many hairs are on my head, but God does. He even cares about things about me that really aren’t that big of a deal. Can you imagine how much He cares about the things that really do matter to you? He cares a lot!
So we know God cares about us, but how do we give Him our cares and worries?
First, let’s think of ways that we tend to give God our worries. One thing we tend to do is to say, “God, I’m worried about this and I know you care about me, but, well, I’m not sure that you can really take care of this. I’m just going to keep holding onto this worry.” That’s like giving our worries to God in the same way that we play with a yo-yo. We start to give it away, but we hold onto it with a string and keep bringing it back to us. That’s not how God wants us to give Him our worries.
Here’s another way that we tend to give God our worries. We say, “God, I know you care about me and I’m worried about this, but, God, this is a really big worry and I don’t think you can handle this one so I’m going to keep worrying about this and handle this one on my own.” When we do that, it’s like we’re giving our worries to God in the way that we play with a boomerang. If I take my boomerang toy to the park and throw it, it will come back to me. When we give our worries to God, but don’t trust Him to take care of us, our worries come back to us, too. Did you know that God is a really big God? He is! He keeps all of the stars in place in the sky and He can take care of you!
So here is how we should give our worries to God. Like a hot potato. If you pick up a hot potato, you will put it down very quickly or your hands will hurt! And you won’t pick up a hot potato again. You will leave it alone and not touch it. That is how God wants us to give our worries to Him. He wants us to remember that He cares about us and to tell Him our worries and trust Him to take care of us.
And then, when we do that, we will have joy because we will know that God cares about us.
Are you feeling pressed down flat with worry today? Give God your cares and worries because He cares about you!
*Note: The Play-Doh idea came from The Hands-On Bible. The yo-yo, boomerang and hot potato idea came from notes that I wrote in my Bible a long time ago from a book, but I don’t remember which one. I’m sorry to whoever I am not crediting for that!